Huntington Woods bans gay conversion therapy

Huntington Woods has become the first city in Michigan to ban the controversial gay conversion therapy.

About 50 years ago, the American Psychiatric Association recognized a diagnosis of homosexuality. That recognized diagnosis is long gone, but there is still such a thing as conversion therapy.

That practice of trying to change someone from gay to straight is now banned in Huntington Woods. On Tuesday night the city commission voted 5-0.

"There is no opposition to it, particularly in a community like Huntington Woods," said Jules Olsman, a commission member. "It was an opportunity to get out in front of an issue, an opportunity to make a statement."

And that statement is, if anyone tries to practice conversion therapy they are looking at an ordinance violation. And although Olsman is not aware of this being a problem, the Michigan legislature wasn't acting.

"The legislature won't touch it," he said. "They won't do it. You've got a majority Republican House, a Republican Majority Senate, and they won't touch it.

"We'll say that people who consider themselves to be religious conservatives, may not find themselves too interested in passing this kind of legislation."

FOX 2: "Would they have some merit in that the government shouldn't interfere with somebody's ability to do a job, even if don't like what they are doing?"

"I disagree with that," Olsman said. "And I think that if you are engaged in a questionable process based on your set of beliefs, trying to tell somebody else you are not who you think you are, we are going to make you who you should be, I think that is where the government does have a role and a right to come in and say it is not going to happen. It shouldn't happen anywhere and it most assuredly isn't going to happen in Huntington Woods."

Huntington Woods was one of the first states to adopt a human rights ordinance so this anti-conversion ordinance is just an extension of that.

"We're not going to wait for a casualty and then say what can we do to prevent this from happening to somebody else," Olsman said.

It is fitting that to the conversion therapy ban was adopted during Pride month.